The Filtered Excellence: June 20, 2019

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Once a week we take a break from comedy to bring you this week’s picks of the best things to watch, the most interesting things to do, great things to try, the best picks to read, our favorite things to listen to and more.


WATCH THIS

 

Toni Morrison:  The Pieces I Am.  The life and career of Toni Morrison is the subject of this new documentary from Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.  It traces everything from her formative years in Ohio, doing book tours with Muhammad Ali and Angela Davis; editing iconic Black literature at Random House; teaching at Princeton University; and winning The Pulitzer Prize, The Nobel Peace Prize for Literature and The Presidential Medal of Freedom behind writing such seminal works as ‘Beloved’, ‘The Bluest Eye’, ‘Sula’ and ‘Song Of Solomon.  There’s also interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and others discussing how Morrison’s work has left a lasting imprint on American and global culture.  Told with warm, humor, and candor, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has created a moving tribute to an literary giant.  Toni Morrison:  The Pieces I Am is available in theaters this weekend.  You can also go to www.tonimorrisonfilm.com for more information.

LISTEN TO THIS

Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen.  Using the wide open spaces of California as a base and metaphor, Springsteen channels the Southern California-based pop made popular by Glen Campbell, Burt Bacharach, along the sweeping orchestral sounds of Roy Orbison to an astonishing effect.  Working once again with producer Ron Anielllo, Springsteen unveils a 13 song suite about fractured love, drifters, fading C-list actors, brittle stuntmen, weekend roadhouses and rundown motels.  While the album captures the scope and textures of those classic 70s recordings, it’s unmistakably Springsteen, who not only sounds great vocally, but hits another peak as a songwriter.  A magnificent work that demands to be heard in full.  One of the year’s best.  Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen is available now through Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming services.The Who’s Tommy Orchestral by Roger Daltrey.  Last summer, Roger Daltrey hit the road to perform The Who’s Tommy backed by an orchestra.  For those who missed it or wanted to relieve it, you can now pick up this new live album.  Recorded in Budapest, Hungary and Bethel Woods, NY, Daltrey tackles the material as if he’s performing it for the first time, incredibly maintaining the same vocal power that he did upon the original album’s release.  He sounds great and the addition of an orchestra gives makes an instant classic even more majestic.  It’s a cool, fresh spin on one of rock’s greatest albums.  The Who’s Tommy Orchestral by Roger Daltrey is available now through Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming services.

Motown:  The Complete 1’s.  As Motown continues to celebrate its 60th Anniversary, this new, special edition 11-CD box set collects every song to hit #1 on multiple charts in the U.S. and around the world.  As a special bonus, the set is housed in a replica of the original Hitsville Motown building, along with a 100 page photo book with an introduction by Smokey Robinson.  It also features a disc of cover versions of Motown songs that hit #1 , remixes and much more.  To have all of these amazing songs in one collection is like having a jukebox containing the soundtrack to our lives.   A must have for any true music fan.  Motown:  The Complete #1’s is available now through Amazon, Apple Music and all major streaming services.

DO THIS

New York City.  Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story.  In 1983, Michael Stewart, a young Black artist died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly tagging a wall in an East Village subway station. His death had a profound effect on Jean-Michel Basquiat who painted a piece called ‘The Death Of Michael Stewart’ on the wall of Keith Haring’s studio.  It was never meant to be seen publicly or meant to be sold, but now this piece – along with Basquiat paintings addressing police misconduct and the canonization of historical black figures – in part of this new Guggenheim exhibit.  It will also feature works by Haring, Andy Warhol, and David Hammons that also were done in response to Stewart’s death.  It’s a great opportunity to see Basquiat and some of the his contemporaries address a pivotal moment in New York CIty history.  Basquiat’s Defacement:  The Untold Story opens this weekend and will run through November 6th.  You can also go to www.guggenheim.org for more information.

Beyond The Streets NYC:  After it’s successful launch in Los Angeles last year, Beyond The Streets –  which calls itself ‘the premier exhibition of graffiti, street art and beyond’,  now touches down on New York City.  It will feature pieces by legendary artists such as Emory Douglas, Al Diaz, Kenny Schaffer, Lee Quiñones, Martha Cooper, Rammellzee, Keith Haring, and many more.  Many of the pieces that will presented will be making their debut, and there will also be you’ll also have a chance to hear the stories behind the art.  It’s the ultimate celebration of artists who turned city streets into their own personal canvas.   Beyond The Streets NYC runs June 21st through August.  You can also go to www.beyondthestreets.com for more information.

Want more excellence? Read last week’s the filtered excellence.

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Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.

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Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.